One parent whose child was at a day camp when a 10-year-old boy accidentally fired a gun chalked up the incident to negligence by the boy’s father.
Lisa Markley, a Lenexa resident, said police told her the 10-year-old had accessed the gun from his father’s unlocked safe and had brought the gun to day camp to show his friend. No one was harmed at the shooting, although her son temporarily lost hearing in one of his ears.
“[That] is very negligent and put my son and the rest of the kids and everybody else in that building in harm’s way,” Markley said.
Johnson County Park and Recreation District spokesman Richard Smalley said earlier this week that the gun that went off was a 40 caliber semi-automatic weapon. He said the organization could not comment at this time about how the gun was stored in the home from which it was taken. The Johnson County District Attorney’s Office is reviewing the incident to determine whether criminal charges are warranted.
Thankfully, Markley’s 8-year-old son who was the day camp, did not seem traumatized by the incident, despite the temporarily loss of hearing in one of his ears. No one was injured at the shooting, but it still opened up conversations with her family about important topics like gun safety.
“Even though I don’t feel like he was directly traumatized by the event, it’s been an opportunity to just talk about the seriousness of guns and how dangerous they can be, and inappropriate use of guns and inappropriate access to guns,” she said. “It’s just opened up a lot of conversations that we’ve had in the last week.”
Markley said she was grateful for the calm response from Johnson County officials and day camp leaders and for the follow-up and access to resources.
“I feel like they’re very transparent and proactive and communicative with us,” she said, adding that she’s glad the day camp continued, which allowed the children to maintain their routine and have other positive experiences.
“We didn’t want to over-dramatize the situation, even though as serious as I am about it, there wasn’t any reason to keep him from not going back the next day because his safety wasn’t jeopardized,” Markley said. “There’s nothing inherently wrong with the camp, it’s just that the boy that came was a product of negligent behavior by his parents and poor decision-making on his part, endangering the kids and everybody else in the building.”
Markley said she thinks the Johnson County Park & Recreation District’s backpack program, which encourages parents to check their child’s backpack frequently, is a good step in the right direction.
“It’s not just up to the organization to figure out how to keep our kids safe,” she added. “We as parents have to make sure that we’re also taking the steps and paying attention to our kids.”